Volume 8, Number 3, July 2009

The Red Cross as "The Greatest Mother in the World" was created by artist A.E. Foringer in this 1918 wartime poster. It is loosely based upon Michelangelo's "Pieta" and shows the nurse as a Madonna cradling a wounded soldier portrayed as her child. It is available at the Library of Congress' Prints and Photographs Online Catalogue. Search for "War posters American 1910 1920."

"The Greatest Mother in the World," by A.E. Foringer was generally conceded to be the most popular and generally successful of all the Red Cross posters and had a tremendous circulation. Its human appeal, with the added appeal of the phrase, probably outweighed its strictly poster qualities in achieving the unprecedented acclaim that was accorded to it, and this acclaim was so great that . . . the Red Cross adopted "The Greatest Mother" as a "trade-mark figure." — Charles Matlack Price, Poster Design: A Critical Study of the Development of the Poster in Continental Europe, England, and America (1922), 286-88

See Julia F. Irwin, Nation Building and Rebuilding: The American Red Cross in Italy During the Great War in the current issue.